Research reveals that Hispanics are the happiest people

That's right! According to Dr. Ed Diener, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, looking at people from around the world, the happiest people are Hispanics. They tend to look at what's going to go right. But considering the difficult circumstances many Hispanics face in the United States is it truly possible for them to be the happiest people on earth?

"Absolutely yes!" answers Dr. Camilo Cruz, self-appointed cheerleader for the Hispanic community. "Happiness is a personal decision, very much independent of circumstances. Some people with all the money and toys in the world are miserable, but it's also common to find happy people of little means. Each person is as happy as they set out to be."

Cruz should know about the business of success and happiness. His most recent book "La Vaca" (Once Upon A Cow), already a Spanish-language bestseller in Colombia and several bookstores in the US, was awarded the 2004 Latino Book Award for the Best Self-Help book in Spanish. Twenty books ago, his first release "In Search of the American Dream - A Guide Succeeding in the United States" was on New York's La Prensa bestseller list for 42 weeks.

People want happiness or success, but they allow excuses and justifications (Cruz calls them 'vacas/cows') to keep them from it. In La Vaca, he states that a first step towards achieving a fulfilling life is eliminating those well-worn excuses that keep us from utilizing our true potential. There's no preachy tone or scolding text, just a metaphor that can lead people to take responsibility and initiative in making productive changes in their lives.

Winning this award recognizes the value and the need for this type of message. People want insight into success and happiness. The proof is in the pudding; in public libraries, life skills and self-help titles are the most sought-after genres by Latinos.

Taller del Exito, La Vaca's publisher, has received 15,000+ letters from Latino readers across the globe. "People tell us on a daily basis how La Vaca inspired personal or professional transformations," says Ida Jimenez, Vice-President of the company, "We're so pleased that the Latino book industry recognizes the power of Dr. Cruz's works as well." Dr. Cruz was recognized along with other Latino authors such as Isabel Allende and Paulo Coelho.